Are you planning for FMX yet?

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I first heard about FMX in 2011, just as I started writing full-time about visual effects. I went there – it’s in Stuttgart – and was immediately hooked. There’s a ton of super-cool visual effects, animation and CG presentations.

You could go to JUST THOSE all week if you wanted to. But why the conference is even better is the breadth of other things going on: recruitment, AR/VR/tech demos, in-depth software/hardware talks, screenings – and maybe the best thing: people. I’ve made a whole bunch of friends there who I probably see only once a year. And you get to meet a lot of industry members and artists. It’s worth it just for that.

Six-odd years later, I’m now on the Program Board for FMX, and I’ll be running a track at the conference in April 2018 called ‘Then & Now.’ I’ll talk more about what this will ultimately involve soon, but the first announced speaker in that track is the amazing Phil Tippett. That might give you a bit of insight into what Then & Now is all about.

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Things start at FMX on April 24, 2018, which is definitely not very far away in terms of planning ahead. Find out more about some of the announced sessions in this press release, and keep an eye on fmx.de for more announcements.

Hope to see you there!

Rachael Reborn

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VFX Voice features this story on MPC’s Rachael work in Blade Runner 2049. Had fun writing this one.

Making Coco pop

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You gotta love that headline, it’s from the new issue of 3D Artist magazine where I wrote about Pixar’s Coco. Buy the mag here.

Breaking down the beautybot

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Earlier this year I caught up with Imageworks visual effects supervisor Mark Breakspear to discuss his studio’s work on Kingsman: The Golden Circle. The home entertainment release of the film is now here, and Imageworks has shared with vfxblog a fun look at the beautybot effects.

Watch Breakspear and animation director Max Tyrie talk about the complex artistry behind the beautybot from The Golden Circle, in this video. The film is out on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on December 12.

 

Thirsty work

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Aardman Nathan Love do some cool commercials work, including this spot for Sprite that features Lebron James. I went behind the scenes for Cartoon Brew.

CG humans, in real-time

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Neill Blomkamp’s Oats Studios has released a new Adam short made with Unity, and it’s something I saw recently at SIGGRAPH Asia in Bangkok in a special premiere session hosted by the game engine company. I wrote about the tech in this article at Cartoon Brew.

Jan Pinkava on 20 years of ‘Geri’s Game’

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Geri’s Game celebrated its 20th anniversary very recently, and I got to have a LOOOONG chat with director Jan Pinkava about the Pixar short, its development, the use of subdivision surfaces and the film’s legacy. Check it out at Cartoon Brew.

Behind the scenes of ‘Valerian’s’ Big Market

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When Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets was released, I got the opportunity to talk to both overall VFX supe Scott Stokdyk and ILM supervisor Philippe Rebours about the Big Market sequence. Now with the film set for home entertainment release, there’s a snippet of one of the featurettes available on the Big Market sequence. Check it out below.

Lytro’s volume tracer

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Director Rodrigo Blaas and Lytro vfx super John Berton Jr told me about Lytro’s new volume tracer and the short they made to demo it. Check it out at Cartoon Brew.

SIGGRAPH Asia tech papers preview: 3D avatars from a single photo

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Over the past few years, I’ve had the pleasure of reading about and watching the results of digital human and faces research led by Hao Li. He is, simultaneously, CEO & Co-Founder of Pinscreen, Inc., Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southern California, and Director of the Vision and Graphics Lab at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies.

Most recently, Li and his collaborators have been demonstrating tools to produce 3D human avatars directly from facial scans and even just single photos. Their latest research, titled ‘Avatar Digitization From a Single Image For Real-Time Rendering’, is being published as a technical paper at SIGGRAPH Asia in Bangkok (27 – 30 November). I had a quick chat to Li on what the research is all about, and where his startup Pinscreen is up to. Read on to also find out how to get a discount to SIGGRAPH Asia. Continue reading →

‘Thor: Ragnarok’s’ Sakaar chase scene was also a courtship dance

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Stuck on Sakaar but looking to get back to Asgard, Thor, Valkeryie and Banner steal one of the Grandmaster’s ships, the Commodore. In a high octane chase scene through the city, they escape Sakaar fighters and exit through a wormhole.

Digital Domain crafted visual effects for the Thor: Ragnarok sequence, overseen by overall visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison. In this special vfxblog, Morrison and DD’s VFX supe Dave Hodgins explain how the exciting chase was pulled off. Continue reading →

What went into those cool title and UI designs in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’?

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The explosion in visual effects work in comic book films is perhaps only matched by the explosion in design work also seen in those movies – everything from logo reveals, to main-on-end titles, screen UIs and other designs.

One of the studios behind much of this work is Perception, based in New York. It recently tackled Thor: Ragnarok’s logo reveal, main-on-ends and other design elements seen in the film, which took on a very ‘Kirby’ and sometimes retro feel. vfxblog asked some of Perception’s key creatives how they accomplished the designs. Continue reading →

Behind the scenes of that super-cool Bifrost scene in ‘Thor: Ragnarok’

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One of the scenes, as brief as it is, that really caught my eye in Thor: Ragnarok, was the Bifrost journey taken by Thor, Loki and an uninvited Hela. A mid-journey fight ensues, which ultimately sends Thor and Loki to the planet Sakaar.

We’ve seen the Bifrost before, but this time visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison and visual effects studio Rising Sun Pictures made it somewhat more crystalline. They also dealt with what happens when a character strays through its edges, coming up with a technique that included just the right amount of camera shake. Morrison and RSP 2D lead Jess Burnheim break down the work for vfxblog. Continue reading →

3D Artist cover

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3D Artist’s latest cover story is a piece I wrote on Blender’s Agent 327, an awesome short designed to showcase the 3D tool and collaborative workflow.